Lot 109

b. Kedah, 1947


Oil on canvas
75.5cm x 105.5cm

Private Collection, Kuala Lumpur.

ESTIMATE  RM 35,000 - 55,000

The end of the day translates to quality time spent among family members or loved ones, after a hard day’s work. In Eng Tay’s narratives, work is rural-based, revolving around the farms, plantations or the sea as suggested by the simplicity of the figures in visage, mannerisms and dress. The human-nature balance is also stressed, here indirectly in the floral patterns of the blouses and in the painted mountains in the framed work in the top right corner. This symbiosis is subtly portrayed in the double-triangle symbolisms: the three figures forming a bedrock of family harmony with the head of the standing man etched out against the picture behind, against the Gunungan (Mountain) cosmic symbols. The human triangle is buttressed by the two seated figures with large posteriors and the one on the left ending with a sharp vertex and acute angle at the base for greater stability and yet, exuding a relaxing feeling. The man’s shirt is in plain white distinguishing it from the other two. The natural mountain is more divinely symmetrical. On the left is a piano, with imagined sounds of the tinkling of ivory keys. The tilt of the heads is another endearing device deployed by the artist besides acting as a form of balancing
act. All these are shaped by Eng Tay’s innate understanding of forms, lines and colours, and most of all, the simple cultures of traditional communities, especially those in Asia and South America.

New York-based Eng Tay has built up an international reputation of 45 years with his endearing figure-types in nearly 100 solo exhibitions all over Asia, Europe and the United States. He headed straight to New York in 1968, first to study at the Art Students League (1969 to 1972) and the School of Visual Arts (New York City, 1972 to 1978) and was a Partcipating Artist at the Pratt Graphics Centre while working as a graphic designer for the Red Book Magazine. A versatile artist, he has distinguished himself in paintings, prints and sculptures. Galeri Petronas in Kuala Lumpur hosted a major retrospective of Eng Tay in 2009, simply titled, Eng Tay: The Exhibition, which coincided with his fourth decade of painting. In the exhibition, Eng Tay also unveiled a series of large masterpieces in homage to the great masters of art. His works are in the collection of the Fukuyama Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan; the Frankie Valli Estate and the Merv Griffin Estate in the United States; the New York University (Dept of Anthropology) and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. His monumental bronze sculptures adorn the Kiaraville Mont Kiara Complex and a condominium in Pantai, both in Kuala Lumpur.

Eng Tay: The Exhibition, Ooi Kok Chuen, Galeri Petronas, 2009.